So the other day I read a random blog. It was actually a pretty good post about how parents need to watch the kind of stuff they write (on facebook or blogs) and pictures they post with regard to their children, because certain things, however inconsequential and minor they seem to us parents, can have lasting negative effects on our kids starting from plain embarrassment to downright hurt feelings or feelings of worthlessness. I thought her point was valid. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve seen parents vent frustrations with kids on facebook or a blog. And how many naked booty shots are online? Probably thousands. The post made me think about my own actions as a mom and how they might effect my son someday. It made me think that I need to be careful to honor my son with my musings and be on guard about defaming his character.
The part of her post that got the most attention in the comments section (resulting in quite an extensive debate) was her assertion that by venting our frustrations to others, whether at the coffee shop or for all the world to see online, meant that we somehow love our children less. Where was this unconditional love in that action?
The debate was between her husband or boyfriend and another person, who was also a parent. What bothered me was the man’s assertion that basically, love from parents is earned based on works. Do good, your parents love you more. Do bad, your parents love you less. The other voice from the parents’ perspective was simply that of, until you have children, you can’t possibly understand unconditional love. That no matter what our kids do, good or bad, we as parents never stop loving our kids any more or any less. Sure there are days we may not like our kids because of their rotten or bratty behavior, but does it mean we don’t love them? Absolutely not.
He thought the whole “until you have kids you can’t fully understand” argument was bogus. I thought that was in itself, short-sided. How many things in life are like that? Until you have cancer and experience chemotherapy for yourself, you truly have NO IDEA what people are going through. Until you lose a child, you’ll never fully understand what it’s like to lose a child. So using his argument that love is earned, how do you explain the love a parent has for a child that is no longer alive? Does a parent whose lost a child suddenly lose their love for this child because it can no longer be earned? Absolutely NOT! That child is always missed and always loved.
As I read this debate, I couldn’t help but see the parallel to the love our Father has for us. His love is unconditional. There is nothing we can do to earn it. Nothing we can do to lose it. Sure, we can disappoint with our misbehavior and selfishness, but lose His love? NEVER. In fact, His love for us is immeasurable: Psalm 103:10-12 says “he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Praise God for His love for us!
Praise God for giving us just a glimpse of His love for us in the ability to love our children in much the same way. Despite their faults or shortcomings. Despite their talents and accomplishments.
I pray I can love my children like my Father loves me. That my actions don’t cause discouragement, but result in encouragement as Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3 says.
Help me to love like You, Lord.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails.